USAG HUMPHREYS, South Korea — The 501st Military Intelligence Brigade began the month of April by supporting the national Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) campaign hosting a discussion on bystander intervention and a Walk-A-Mile event, Apr. 2.
The event began with a gathering at Zoeckler Field, which all Soldiers with less than 90 days in country were required to attend, and all other personnel were invited to attend, to listen to a SAAPM message delivered by Capt. Scott Tosi, commander, Headquarters, Headquarters Company.
“This event is about educating the force and creating awareness about sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said Tosi. “As many of you know, it has become an endemic problem in the Army, and the Army has done a lot to address it. But in the past it has always been reactive, so moving forward we are trying to educate and take proactive measures to stop sexual harassment and sexual assault. And, what this really comes down to is living the Army Values and personal intervention.”
Tosi went on that everyone has to be proactive and help protect their friends and battle-buddies in the Army at large. If something is happening that is not consistent with Army Values that they have to step in and intervene.
The gathered Soldiers, Civilians and Family members then watched the brigade’s victim advocates and Red Dragon Ambassadors discuss and put on live-action portrayals of what is meant by intervening and how to intervene, so there could be no misunderstanding.
Staff Sgt. Ashley Monroe, brigade supply noncommissioned officer in charge, and victim advocate from HHC, led the discussion asking for interpretations from the crowd of what bystander intervention meant to them before providing the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program formal definition.
“Recognizing a potential harmful situation, interacting and choosing to respond in a way that positively influences the outcome,” said Monroe.
Next, Staff Sgt. Tenekeyia McGaskey, brigade orders NCO, also a victim advocate for HHC, led the portrayal of scenes of bystander intervention in action. She told the audience that there are four Ds in bystander intervention: Direct, Distract, Delegate and Do something.
During the Direct portrayal, the Red Dragon Ambassadors acted out directing a fellow Soldier to stop discussing something publically that was making one of their teammates uncomfortable.
Then, the Soldiers acted out how to Distract from someone making inappropriate comments and redirecting to a different topic for discussion. McGaskey explained that this tactic may be appropriate if that bystander isn’t comfortable directly confronting the individual in question, but still wants to address the problem.
The Delegate scene focused on one of the Soldiers seeing an issue and asking the person in charge of the offending Soldier to step in and address the problem. McGaskey said this is another tactic can be used if the person witnessing the situation is uncomfortable directly confronting the individual, or sees that the offender may react better to someone else’s influence.
The last D, McGaskey concluded was to do something; to have the personal courage to be involved, to be an active bystander. She went on to discuss how the creeds of the officer, NCO and Civilian all reflect the importance of intervening when we see a fellow teammate in trouble.
“It is our duty to protect each other, not just this nation, because we are this nation,” said McGaskey.
To conclude the event, Tosi directed the group to assemble on the track and to walk the five laps around the track in silence. Around that track were stationed Soldiers holding signs featuring SHARP messaging to reinforce reason for the event.
“The walk will be in silence, a time of reflection,” said Tosi. “So I ask that you reflect on the impact of sexual harassment and sexual assault on our Army as a whole. Reflect on what you saw in skits and think about situations that may arise where you might have to intervene. If you haven’t thought out how you will react in one of these situations, then when the time comes you may not know what to do.”
The 501st Military Intelligence Brigade provides indications and early warning of actions by opposing forces who could threaten the tense, but stable, peace in the Republic of Korea. In the event of hostilities, the brigade’s mission shifts to providing combined, multi-discipline intelligence and force protection support to the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command, the CFC Ground Component Command and their subordinate units.